“Nothing is more timely than the establishment and operation of an observatory to provide analysis and to allow policy                                   reforms to be based on evidence: evidence of failures and evidence of success”  GDPO Patron, Ruth Dreifuss (Former President of the Swiss Confederation & Former Chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy)

About the Observatory

National and international drug policies and programmes that privilege harsh law enforcement and punishment in an effort to eliminate the cultivation, production, trade and use of controlled substances – what has become known as the ‘war on drugs’ – are coming under increased scrutiny. The Global Drug Policy Observatory aims to promote evidence and human rights based drug policy through the comprehensive and rigorous reporting, monitoring and analysis of policy developments at national and international levels. Acting as a platform from which to reach out to and engage with broad and diverse audiences, the initiative aims to help improve the sophistication and horizons of the current policy debate among the media, elite opinion formers and researchers as well as those within law enforcement and policy making communities. The Observatory engages in a range of research activities that explore not only the dynamics and implications of existing and emerging policy issues, but also the processes behind policy shifts at various levels of governance.

All GDPO material published on this website is licensed under a CC-BY

GDPO Projects

Featured Publications

Red book cover

Governing Human Life (Bio)politics, Knowledge and Borders in Global Drug Policy

Palgrave MacmillanOndrej Ditrych , Constanza Sánchez Avilés 2023

This book is a critical analysis tracing the operation of biopolitical mode of power in the global field of drug control. Through a series of theoretically framed investigations that relate current drug control policies to the broader frame of ‘vital politics’, it attends to the relationship of drug control, state of exception and democracy, exploring how pressures of resurgent sovereignty and neoliberal governmentality imprint on drug policy. Then, it turns attention to the relationship of power and knowledge, with a particular focus on the ‘evidence-based’ approaches that may at times sustain rather than challenge prohibitionist drug control policies. Finally, it looks at how the global drug control dispositif shapes life on one of Europe’s (internal) peripheries. These investigations are intended to illuminate the operation of the drug control dispositif and its far reaching (bio-)political effects in order to expand the space for devising more competent and compassionate public policies.

Click here to read more

Our Funders